Bear With Me is a point-and-click adventure crafted in the spirt of old detective noir stories. The player is tasked with the search of Amber Ashworth missing brother Flint, for which she’s recruited the aid of Ted E. Bear to track him down and solve the mystery. This unlikely duo has to interrogate unique characters they encounter on their search, look for clues, solve puzzles, and even do some minor crafting in order to access hard to reach areas.
On the surface, the idea is creative and cute. The mystery of Flint’s disappearance did provide me with some motivation to solve the case, but there’s also a real sense of danger sprinkled throughout the adventure, too.
The silent antagonist is the mysterious ‘red man’, a presence only hinted at being involved with Flint’s disappearance. Amber has to help Mr. Bear uncover the mystery behind not only her brother’s disappearance, but learn who may be responsible for the constant fires wreaking havoc in Paper City.
To be honest, I found myself initially irritated with Amber right from the start. This confused me since the game strongly hints Amber Ashworth is an intelligent little girl judging by the stacks of books, colored pencils, and even the paintings located in her bedroom. Every clicked picture on is usually met with intelligent and sometimes deep observations by this little girl. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the game I realized my irritation had to do with her voice acting.
Amber’s tone throughout feels very dry and scripted. The majority of the time I felt like I should be enjoying her dialogue, but it felt flat every time she spoke. During a crucial, emotional moment her voice continued to sound flat and even fake. This ruined part of the gameplay for me a bit since Amber was obviously a well thought out character, but her execution was flawed.
Other issues I encountered were the pacing and break of immersion by fourth wall jokes. While I can appreciate the game making fun of itself at times, during others it gets old fast. Why does the game have to comment on lazy writing instead of just coming up with an explanation about why an item worked on a certain object? One obvious example that comes to mind is during an interrogation with a key character to gain more information about the ‘red man’ and Flint’s disappearance. Ted E. Bear makes a comment about him and Amber walking away from the character, and there’s an added bit of dialogue for the characters to continue as they were like they were on a film set.
The pacing itself isn’t terrible, but can feel slow during the first half of the game. There’s heavy dialogue throughout the experience due to interrogations, but a few speeches felt as if they could have been streamlined and polished. During character interactions I was fine with hearing relevant information to solve the mystery, but having such expansive dialogue thrown at me in the beginning was an irritation.
While I have issues with this particular point-and-click adventure game, I did in fact enjoy my play through. The last half of the game was well paced and engaging; it even had me on edge with a few parts. By the end I found myself invested in these characters that I’d spent such a short time with and wanting them to succeed in finding Flint.
The entire mystery of the ‘red man’ does add a hint of creepiness to the game along with a brief flashes of what could be ‘reality’ showing forth. While this is just the first episode, towards the finale I found myself developing theories about who the antagonist could be.
Bear With Me does have its flaws and could have been polished a bit more before it was released. Amber’s voice acting needs a major re-haul and certain pieces of extensive dialogue in the beginning need to be streamlined. The hint system could also be more informative, especially when concerning Amber when the player is trying to figure out which item goes with another one. Still, despite these drawbacks, there’s a good time to be had here. I’ll give developers Exordium Games credit for adding creativity, effort, and originality to a genre that could desperately use more of all three.